Our journey through the time of Lent

Ash Wednesday is behind us and Easter is still some way in the future. As we journey towards the Easter weekend in this, the time of Lent, may I take this opportunity to remind us of the following:

  • In the Christian Church, Lent is a forty-day season of preparation for Easter. 
  • During Lent, we remember the forty days that Jesus spent in the wilderness.
  • He fasted and prayed during this time, and was tempted by the devil as he did so. 
  • Lent is a time when Christians also spend time in prayer, fasting and repentance.  It is a time when we acknowledge our failures and focus on our need of God’s grace.

Since time immemorial, humankind has been grappling with the tension between right and wrong, good and evil, the holy and the unholy. Similarly, we have long since had a sense of the numinous. Numinous is defined as:

“having a strong religious or spiritual quality; indicating or suggesting the presence of a divinity.”

It is in this context that the various religions were established as people strove to find and engage with God. My conviction is that we cannot find God in that sense. We cannot find him! He finds us! God deeply desires to connect with us, and stands ready to do so if we would only slow down and listen for his ‘still small voice.’ Jesus, the Son of God, saw the need for times of quiet reflection and prayer as he met with, and was strengthened by, his Father - God.

If Jesus needed to do this, dare I say, how much more do we all need to do that.

Lent is an opportunity for us to do exactly that; to reflect deeply on where we are in relation to God. It is an opportunity to look inward in honesty and to see ourselves as God sees us. This can be a very uncomfortable exercise but is a necessary and useful one. As we honestly acknowledge our shortcomings and try to correct them in the power of the Holy Spirit, we know that God responds in patience and love.

This is a simple prayer that you might find useful during Lent. 

God of all compassion, you want me to turn to prayer and repentance to heal the wounds of my shortcomings and sins. I acknowledge my sinfulness. I am aware of my failures.  I am sorry and wish to improve the way that I live.  Let your compassion and the hope of Easter lead me through a Lent of repentance to the beauty of Easter joy. Grant this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

God bless

Reverend Dave